PHOTO EXHIBIT PUTS FACES ON AFRICA’S THIRST – by Sony Hocklander
Doug Pitt’s images document effort to bring Tanzanians clean water.
Imagine walking for miles to fill several gallon jugs with dirty mountain runoff. That’s the only source of water in many dry, remote areas of Africa, says Doug Pitt. Which is why WorldServe, a nonprofit group based in Springfield, digs wells to provide clean water.
“The Water Project,” an exhibit of photographs Pitt took in Tanzania in September to document those efforts, opens tonight at the Randy Bacon Photography Studio and Gallery as part of the First Friday Art Walk. Bacon printed 28 large images from Pitt’s photos, which are for sale to benefit WorldServe.
A hobby photographer for nearly a decade, Pitt became involved with WorldServe after its president, John Bongiorno, learned the local businessman had similarly documented Convoy of Hope’s efforts in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.
Pitt knew about WorldServe because his church, James River Assembly of God, was helping to fund the water project. The trip to Africa included several church members in addition to Pitt, Bongiorno and developer Matt Miller, who assisted Pitt.
The dry conditions in Tanzania are unbelievable, says Pitt, and the mountain runoff is so dirty “you wouldn’t wash your car with it.”
Shooting in Africa was tough, he says. Many adults were reluctant to have their photo taken.
“But the kids loved it. And they liked to see their faces on the back of the (digital) camera,” Pitt says.
Bongiorno is excited about Pitt’s photos. “There is something powerful when you see the connection between water and people struggling to get water,” he says. “Doug has a gift for being able to … bring it home so people can understand what this project is all about.”